Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Appellate Court Opinions

Format: 03/21/2019
Format: 03/21/2019
State of Tennessee v. Kenneth Demarcus Williams
E2018-00086-CCA-R3-CD
The Defendant, Kenneth Demarcus Williams, was convicted by a Knox County Criminal Court jury of two counts of facilitation of aggravated burglary, a Class D felony, two counts of aggravated burglary, a Class B felony, two counts of aggravated assault, a Class B felony, two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, a Class D felony, and unlawful possession of a firearm while being a convicted felon, a Class C felony. See T.C.A. §§ 39-14-403 (2018) (aggravated burglary); 39-11-403 (2018) (facilitation of a felony); 39-13-102 (2018) (aggravated assault); 39-12-302 (2018) (felony classification when acting in concert); 39-17-1324 (2018) (possession of a firearm during dangerous felony); 39-17-1307 (2018) (unlawful firearm possession). After the appropriate merger, the trial court sentenced the Defendant to terms of confinement of four years for facilitation of aggravated burglary, twelve years for aggravated burglary, twelve years for aggravated assault, five years for possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, and ten years for unlawful possession of a firearm. The court imposed partial consecutive service, for an effective sentence of twenty-one years’ confinement. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his facilitation of aggravated burglary convictions and (2) the trial court erred by admitting photograph evidence. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.
 
Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/22/19
State of Tennessee v. Francisco Gomez
M2018-00529-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant, Francisco Gomez, was convicted of rape of a child and aggravated sexual battery by a Rutherford County jury. The trial court ordered Defendant to serve a total effective sentence of twenty-five years with release eligibility after service of 100% of the sentence in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, Defendant argues that the trial court erred in excluding his testimony that he was living in Kentucky during the time period when the offenses occurred because Defendant failed to give the State the notice required by Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 12 for alibi evidence. After a thorough review of the facts and applicable case law, we conclude that Defendant’s proffered testimony was not alibi evidence, and thus, the trial court erred in excluding it on the ground that Defendant failed to provide notice to the State. However, we also conclude that the error was harmless, and we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/22/19
Christopher Jake Reynolds v. Kevin Genovese, et al.
M2017-02337-CCA-R3-HC

The pro se Petitioner, Christopher Jake Reynolds, appeals the summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus. Following our review, we affirm the dismissal of the petition.

Hickman County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/22/19
State of Tennessee v. Septian Valentine
W2018-01018-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant-Appellant, Septian Valentine, appeals from the revocation of supervised release by the Lake County Circuit Court, arguing that the trial court erred in revoking his probation and ordering him to serve the remainder of his sentence in confinement. After review, we affirm.

Lake County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/22/19
Kevin Fennell v. State of Tennessee
W2018-00852-CCA-R3-PC

The Petitioner, Kevin Fennell, appeals from the denial of post-conviction relief, alleging that his guilty pleas are constitutionally infirm due to trial counsel’s failure to inform him that his sentence was required to be served in the Tennessee Department of Correction. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/22/19
Kenneth Brown v. State of Tennessee
W2017-01755-CCA-R3-PC

The Petitioner, Kenneth Brown, appeals from the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing (1) that trial counsel provided ineffective assistance in failing to present Agent James Davis and Beatrice Vaulx as witnesses at trial and in failing to request an instruction on proximate cause of death; and (2) that he is entitled to a second post-conviction hearing based on post-conviction counsel’s ineffectiveness. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/22/19
State of Tennessee v.Shawn Gibson Delosh
W2018-00272-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant-Appellant, Shawn Gibson Delosh, was convicted by a Dyer County jury of promoting the manufacture of methamphetamine, see Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-433(a)(1), for which he received a sentence of twelve years, to be served consecutively to his prior sentences and parole revocations. On appeal, the Defendant argues that (1) the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction, and (2) the trial court improperly ordered his sentence to be served consecutively to “all prior sentences and/or parole revocations.” Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Dyer County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/22/19
State of Tennessee v. Troy Lee Springfield
W2017-01013-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant, Troy Lee Springfield, was found guilty of attempted voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. He was sentenced to eight years for attempted voluntary manslaughter, ten years for aggravated assault, four years for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, and ten years for employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. The trial court ordered the sentences for aggravated assault and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony to be served consecutively to each other and concurrently with the remaining counts for an effective sentence of twenty years. On appeal, Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions, and the State did not prove his identity as the perpetrator of the offenses.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/22/19
State of Tennessee v. Tavares Dewayne Buchanan, AKA Tavarea Dewayne Buchanan
M2017-02268-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Tavares Dewayne Buchanan, aka Tavarea Dewayne Buchanan, was convicted by a Davidson County Criminal Court jury of aggravated kidnapping, a Class B felony; two counts of rape, Class B felonies; aggravated assault, a Class C felony; felon in possession of a firearm, a Class D felony; and unlawful photography, a Class A misdemeanor, and he was sentenced to an effective term of ten years in incarceration followed by ten years on probation. On appeal, he argues that: (1) the trial court erred in allowing the State to introduce evidence of his prior felony convictions in its case-in-chief; (2) the trial court erred in overruling his objection to the State’s vouching for the reliability of the victim in its closing argument; and (3) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions. After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/21/19
State of Tennessee v. Harold Joe Rittenhouse
M2018-00140-CCA-R3-CD

Petitioner, Harold Joe Rittenhouse, appeals the trial court’s summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus and motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. Following our review of the parties’ briefs and applicable law, we dismiss the appeal.

Franklin County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/21/19
State of Tennessee v. Carl David Roe
E2018-00609-CCA-R3-CD

The defendant, Carl David Roe, appeals the denial of his motion to withdraw his 2003 guilty plea to attempted aggravated sexual battery, arguing that the entry of an amended judgment in 2007 that added a requirement that the defendant be subject to community supervision for life invalidated the plea. Discerning no error, we affirm the denial of relief.

Cocke County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/21/19
State of Tennessee v. Siranthony Williams
W2018-00413-CCA-R3-CD

A Shelby County Criminal Court Jury convicted the Appellant, Siranthony Williams, of aggravated robbery, and the trial court imposed a sentence of ten years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence sustaining his conviction, specifically his identity as the perpetrator of the offense. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/21/19
Lazette Sanders v. State of Tennessee
W2018-00098-CCA-R3-PC

Petitioner, Lazette Sanders, was indicted by the Hardeman County Grand Jury for one count of attempted first degree murder. Petitioner pleaded guilty to the amended charge of attempted second degree murder and received a sentence as a Range I offender of eight years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. Petitioner filed a petition seeking postconviction relief, in which she alleged that she received the ineffective assistance of counsel and that her guilty plea was not knowingly and voluntarily entered. Following an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied her petition. Petitioner appeals and we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Hardeman County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/21/19
State of Tennessee v. Arthur McKinnie
W2018-00439-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Arthur McKinnie, was indicted for attempted first degree murder, a Class A felony; aggravated assault, a Class C felony; employment of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, a Class C felony; reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon, a Class E felony; and tampering with evidence, a Class C felony. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-12-101, -13-102, -13-103, -13-202, -16-503, -17-1324. The Defendant proceeded to a jury trial. The trial court granted the Defendant’s motion for judgment of acquittal on the tampering with evidence charge. The jury convicted the Defendant of the lesser-included offense of attempted voluntary manslaughter, a Class D felony, and the charged offenses of aggravated assault and reckless endangerment. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-12-101, -13-211. The jury acquitted the Defendant of the employment of a firearm charge. The trial court imposed a total effective sentence of ten years. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction for attempted voluntary manslaughter; (2) the trial court abused its discretion in setting the length of his sentences; and (3) the trial court abused its discretion in imposing partial consecutive sentences. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/21/19
State of Tennessee v. Wayne Luster Boykin, Sr.
W2018-00297-CCA-R3-CD

A Madison County Jury convicted the Defendant-Appellant, Wayne Luster Boykin, Sr., of possession with intent to sell more than one-half ounce of marijuana (Count 1), possession with intent to deliver more than one-half ounce of marijuana, (Count 2), both Class E felonies, and possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia (Count 3), a Class A misdemeanor. See T.C.A. §§ 39-17-417, -425(a)(1). He received an effective sentence of four years in confinement. Prior to trial, Boykin filed a motion to suppress arguing that the search warrant and supporting affidavit were based on “stale” information. The trial judge, who was the issuing magistrate for the search warrant, transferred the motion to suppress to be heard by another judge. Following the denial of the motion to suppress, the case was transferred back to the original trial judge to conduct the trial. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant argues: (1) the trial court that heard the motion to suppress erred in denying his motion to suppress the search and his subsequent statement; (2) the trial court that conducted the trial and the motion for new trial erred in its review of the motion to suppress; and (3) that he received an excessive sentence. Upon our review, we remand Count 3 for entry of an amended judgment. In all other respects, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/21/19
Bruce A. Smiley v. State of Tennessee, Et Al.
M2018-01263-COA-R3-CV

This appeal arises from a Petition for Declaratory Judgment filed by an incarcerated sex offender in the custody of the Tennessee Department of Correction. Petitioner challenged what he claimed to be the illegal, arbitrary, and capricious application of Tenn. Code Ann. § 41-21-235, the Sex Offender Treatment Program (the “SOTP”), contending he is eligible for a parole hearing but will be denied parole because the State of Tennessee has failed to enroll him in the program. This contention is based on Tenn. Code Ann. § 41-21-235(b), which expressly states, as to sex offenders, “Successful participation and completion of the treatment program shall be a consideration for parole from a correctional institution.” Respondents moved for summary judgment on several grounds including the undisputed fact that the challenged provision is unenforceable due to a consent decree issued by the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee in Dean v. McWherter, No. 1-90-0027 (M.D. Tenn. filed Aug. 18, 1994), and the Tennessee Board of Parole does not consider participation in the SOTP, or lack thereof, as a factor in deciding whether to grant parole. Respondents also filed a motion to dismiss the individual respondents as well as the State for failure to state a claim based Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-5-225. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss the individual respondents and summarily dismissed all remaining claims. In pertinent part, the court found it was undisputed that by the terms of the consent decree and the affidavit of the Executive Director of the Board of Parole that the Board cannot and does not consider an inmate’s participation in the SOTP in reaching its parole decision. This appeal followed. We affirm in all respects.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 02/20/19
In Re L.T.
W2018-00931-COA-R3-JV

In this child custody case, father petitioned the court to modify a prior custody order designating mother as the primary residential parent of their child, L.T. Father alleged that there had been a material change in circumstance in that mother refused to adhere to the court’s visitation order on numerous occasions. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 36–6–101(a)(2)(B) (2018). After a hearing, the court agreed. It held that it was in the best interest of the child to award joint custody to mother and father, with father designated as the primary residential parent. Mother appeals. We affirm.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 02/20/19
John Glen Renken v. Jennifer Marie Renken
M2017-00861-COA-R3-CV

In this post-divorce dispute, the father filed a criminal contempt petition against his exwife for alleged violations of a permanent parenting plan. In response, the mother filed a counter-petition for criminal contempt, modification of custody, and permission to relocate. The trial court denied the mother’s petition to relocate and the father’s petition for criminal contempt. The court determined that there was not a material change sufficient to modify custody but there was material change that met the lower threshold required for modification of the residential parenting schedule. The court adopted the position of the guardian ad litem that equal parenting time would serve the children’s best interest and modified the parenting plan accordingly. The court also found the father in criminal contempt. We conclude that the court erred in adopting the modified residential parenting schedule without conducting a best interest analysis. So we vacate and remand for further proceedings on this issue. In all other respects, we affirm.

Montgomery County Court of Appeals 02/20/19
City of McMinnville v. Steven Erich Hubbard
M2018-00223-CCA-R3-CO

Defendant, Steven Erich Hubbard, appeals from his conviction for failure to obey a stop sign in violation of a municipal ordinance. Because such appeals are considered civil in nature, we are without subject matter jurisdiction to hear this appeal. Therefore, pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Appellate Procedure 17, we transfer the case to the Tennessee Court of Appeals for further adjudication.

Warren County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/20/19
State of Tennessee v. Stanley Owens
W2017-02188-CCA-R3-CD

A Shelby County Criminal Court Jury convicted the Appellant, Stanley Owens, of voluntary manslaughter, a Class C felony, and the trial court sentenced him as a Range III, career offender to fifteen years in confinement. On appeal, the Appellant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support the conviction, that the trial court erred by failing to dismiss the indictment due to the State’s almost twenty-five-year preindictment delay, and that trial court erred by disregarding the State’s late-filed notice of enhanced sentencing. Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/20/19
State of Tennessee v. Whelcher Randall Hogan
M2017-02256-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant, Whelchel Randall Hogan, pled guilty to possession of less than .5 grams of cocaine with the intent to sell or deliver after the denial of a motion to suppress. As part of the guilty plea, Defendant reserved a certified question of law regarding the legality of his traffic stop. After a review of the record, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and dismiss Defendant’s conviction.

Dickson County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/19/19
James Lackey v. State of Tennessee
M2018-00230-CCA-R3-PC

The Petitioner, James Lackey, appeals from the denial of post-conviction relief, alleging that (1) trial counsel provided ineffective assistance in failing to call his brother as a defense witness at trial, and (2) the post-conviction court abused its discretion in failing to consider his brother’s recorded interview as substantive evidence at the post-conviction hearing. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

White County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/19/19
In Re Lailonnii J., et al.
E2018-01198-COA-R3-PT

Father appeals the trial court’s decision to terminate his parental rights to two children on the grounds of (1) incarceration under a sentence of ten or more years, and the children were under eight at the time the sentence was entered, (2) wanton disregard for the welfare of the children, and (3) failure to manifest an ability and willingness to personally assume legal and physical custody or financial responsibility of the children, and placing the children in Father’s care would pose a risk of substantial harm to the physical and psychological welfare of the children. He further challenges the trial court’s finding by clear and convincing evidence that termination of his parental rights was in the best interest of the children. We affirm in part and vacate in part.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/19/19
Ricky Harris v. State of Tennessee
E2018-00362-CCA-R3-ECN

The Petitioner, Ricky Harris, appeals the Carter County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for a writ of error coram nobis from his first degree murder conviction, for which he received a life sentence. We affirm the judgment of the coram nobis court.

Carter County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/19/19
Kenneth A. Jones v. State of Tennessee
M2018-00632-CCA-R3-PC

The petitioner, Kenneth A. Jones, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged his Davidson County Criminal Court jury conviction of robbery. In this appeal, the petitioner reiterates his claim that he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel. Because the petitioner has failed to establish that he is entitled to post-conviction relief, we affirm.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/19/19